Tuesday, May 18, 2010

CT Column: Belgian brilliance

This weeks Capital Times Column:

BELGIUM is responsible for some of the most original and idiosyncratic beers in the world.
One very unusual characteristic of the Belgian brewing industry are the six Trappist Monasteries, which brew and sell beer to fund their abbeys and the charitable works they undertake.
The largest of these Trappist breweries is the Bières de Chimay at the Scourmont Abbey in the south of Belgium.
Chimay brews three beers for sale and as is customary amongst the Trappist Brewers one low strength beer for the monks to drink.
The three that the outside world get to drink are identified by the colour of the label. Chimay Red is the ‘small’ beer of the pack clocking in at 7%abv and offering up berry fruit aromas and a peppery yeast note.
Chimay White is a pale beer with a bright hop character and the spicy Chimay yeast note clocking in at 8%abv.
The most interesting beer of the range is the Chimay Blue which clocks in at 9%abv and is intended for cellaring.
When young, Chimay Blue has the classic peppery fruity aroma from the house yeast and a sweet malt accented palate.
As the beer ages, the fruit character deepens and rounds out taking on port-wine-like raisin notes with an incredibly smooth finish.
Chimay also produce washed rind cheese which makes a perfect match to the Blue. Try it with Over the Moon Galactic Gold or Kapiti Ramara from Moore Wilson’s Fresh.
I cellar my own Chimay Blue as I prefer the beer with some age on it, however for those with less restraint there will be a unique opportunity to taste and buy bottles from the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Vintages at the Regional Wines and Spirits Belgian Beer Tasting on Saturday May 29th.

Kieran Haslett-Moore.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Kieran, will be sure to pop in. If you have not made it already, when next in EU, I would recommend The Kulminator in Antwerp. Very understated beer bar, but head and shoulders above anything else in the world when it comes to beer selection. Is possible to get even very old Westvleteren styles and selections of Chimay Reserve dating now back to early 80's. Cheers, MIKE.